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Fiction – Ruth’s Story #40 And the teams are off searching the barricade on Lake City Way still surrounded by zombies

June 3, 2012

“Sutton, what is our fighting strength?”

“Sir, out of 33 soldiers, we have 21 that are down-checked for illness. Of seven civilians with no military experience; all down-checked with illness. Nguen is our only civilian with no military experience not ill. I have 12 men ready to perform sweeps as ordered in two stacks of six. Nikola will lead one stack, and I will lead the other. Nguen and Ruth will guard the convoy with the Sargent Major who is also a tad under the weather. Thankfully the Sergeant Major hates Asian food, so he did not eat that much. No slight to Ruth and her abilities, but I need someone we can trust guarding the convoy with combat experience, that is not ill.”

“Alright, I will prepare the medical kit should someone get hurt. Let us get the men started.”

“Sir, they would appreciate a few words from you before they start.”

“Oh, all right I will address the men.”

We stand as one, exiting the restaurant slowly with me bringing up the rear. I notice for the first time as we are exiting the restaurant the smell of trash that permeates the air. The breeze has stopped, and despite the slowly milling crowd of zombies still pressing upon the barricade, the smell of putrification does not reach us. Rather we smell the rotting trash scattered around the area.

Since the fall of society, modern conveniences like refuse removal ceased. The refuse that is left and accumulated since is rotting in place. The piled rotting refuse attracts vermin and must be removed, or disposed of properly, or it will become a health hazard.

Thinking of refuse disposal methods makes me remember Jamal’s discussion of lack of sufficient quantities of fuel to burn thoroughly corpses. Likely a similar problem exists with the disposal of trash. Lack of sufficient fuel with which to burn refuse properly dictates other disposal methods which apparently have not been used around the barricade.

Stepping outside through the shattered front windows and glass door, we walk out into the sunshine and approach the assembled soldiers. The shattered glass crunches under our boots.

I wish now that I had brought my AR15 with me to lunch. Thinking of lunch causes my empty stomach to rumble again. The young soldier who came into the restaurant, I see has stripped his rank insignia off his fatigues, but his last name is still displayed. Thomson gives me a quick glance, so I guess he heard my stomach.

“You know Sutton in a war environment; you should not allow the men to assemble in close ranks because a well tossed grenade or a mortar shell will kill the lot of them.”

This conversation is being held as we walk across the sidewalk and the street towards the assembled men. Sitting in front of the assembled men are a few people who I cannot make out clearly. Since I was last out of the restaurant, I bring up the rear of our little party. I keep a watch on our backside just in case someone decides to attack us.

Sutton turns and looks at me. “Well that is something we are going to have to work on.” Turning and addressing the assembled the men, he speaks in a slightly louder voice.

“Alright men we are going to sweep every building within this barricade. Leave no room or closet unsearched. We are unsure of who is the enemy and who is friendly, so bag and tag ‘em all, and we’ll sort ‘em out later. Nikola will lead team two, and I will lead team one. Now the colonel will address you.”

Jamal steps forward and looks over the small group of men. “Let us not kill anyone needlessly, but put down any resistance as you need. Use whatever force you deem necessary. Your personal safety is paramount above all else. Get this task done as quickly as possible with as little bloodshed as possible, and get back here in one piece. We are going to spend the night here, so take enough time to do the job properly but do not rush needlessly but do not dawdle and absolutely do not skip a single area. Leave no stone unturned. May God be with you and good luck.”

With that Jamal walks around to the rear of his car. “Sutton, take the men, God be with you as well and good luck.”

I look and see that Nikola is now standing in front of one group, which I assume, is team number two. Nikola is carrying his AKS-74U-UBN with the suppressor attached but has removed his BS-1 “Tishina” 30mm grenade launcher. Seeing Nikola’s Kalashnikov bayonet clipped to his belt reminds me that I want to grab my Glock fighting knife out of my car.

The assembled men run for the four houses in the very northwest corner of the barricade. The men jog at an easy trot in two single file lines about eight feet apart. I do sort of wish I was going with them, but someone needs to watch the convoy and our sick personnel.

I pass Nguen who is watching over the diners and staff from the restaurant. So that is who was sitting on the ground that I could not see clearly earlier. “Nguen is your rifle on safe?”

When he looks down at his rifle, I step within reach and put my hand over his trigger finger making positively sure he cannot squeeze the trigger. “Your rifle is not on safe which is OK but keep your damned finger off the trigger unless you want to shoot someone! Keep your finger alongside the trigger guard like this.”

I show Nguen the proper placement of his trigger finger along the side of the housing by physically moving his finger. Thankfully he is right-handed like I am.

I slap the charging handle closed on his M16 because I noticed it was not fully latched. That is a terrific way to lose a few teeth and tear your cheek up first time you shoot the weapon with a loose charging handle. Of course, he would learn a painful lesson that he would not likely repeat.

I have a thought. “How did you load your weapon?” I ask him.

He looks at me perplexed. “What do you mean?”

“Did you pull the handle and let it fly to load a round or did you ride the charging handle closed?”

“Uh, the second one.”

“With the M16 family of weapons you cannot load that way. You need to pull the charging handle fully to the rear and then let it fly to load a round. Otherwise, the gun might not be fully in battery.”


“OK, follow along. Eject the mag and put it in your pants pocket. Pull the charging all the way to the rear and hold the weapon open. When you have the chamber open, observe the empty chamber.”

“Watch where you point you muzzle,” I tell him. Nguen moves so that his muzzle does not wave over the seated staff from the restaurant.

He does as I instruct, ejecting a round which I try to catch (would have certainly given me cool points had I caught it) but instead lands at my feet and rolls around a moment. I pick the 5.56mm NATO round up off the ground noticing it is green tipped, most likely SS109 or similar steel tipped penetrator clone. Turning the round over I read the head stamp; Lake City made in 2012. I put the round in my pocket.

Nguen looks into the open chamber of his rifle. While Nguen looks into the chamber of his rifle, his rifle muzzle wanders a bit again.

“Now release the charging handle. Do not ride the handle, just let it fly. Watch your muzzle I told you – do not point the muzzle at anyone unless you fully intend to kill them.”

“When you have a malfunction with this weapon remember the acronym SPORTS. Slap, Pull, Observe, Release, Tap and Shoot. We are not going to shoot right now. Put the mag from your pants pocket back in the weapon. Once the mag is locked in place I want you to slap the magazine making sure it is fully seated. Most problems with the M16 family of weapons are magazine related.”

Nguen slaps the magazine tentatively. “Slap the magazine like you means it!” I practically yell at him.

Nguen is startled by my sudden shouting at him, and he vigorously slaps the magazine several times making sure it is full seated. “OK” Nguen says.

“Now push the bolt release.”

Nguen follows my directions fully seating a round. I notice that his M16 lacks a forward assist, so he will have to skip the tap step. I look more closely at Nguen’s rifle and then realize that he has a civilian AR15 and not an M16 at all. I tell Nguen as much and wonder just how much of this information that he is going to remember.

“Be careful,” I tell him as I begin to walk away. Thankfully he is not a rookie with a machine gun in his hands God help us.

As I walk around the convoy back to my little car, I decide to pop open the bonnet on my car, I mean trunk damn it, and look through the two military duffels. I have time and nothing else to do. Might as well make the most of my time.

From my vantage at my little car, I can watch most of the convoy vehicles. With Nguen on the north-west side of the convoy, I need to watch the south-eastern side. Regrettably that means the side against the barricade which is also within sight of the zombies.

At least the zombies are just milling around right now and are not pressing against the barricade anymore. Should the zombies spot somebody, it is likely they would press against the barricade again. I ponder how to watch the convoy but remain out of sight of the zombies.

As I look over my little Smart car, I see a small form dressed in street clothes duck underneath the rear guard Humvee.

  1. phil permalink

    this is really getting suspenseful, keep up this scenario, lets have some bad guys bite the dust.

  2. Not bad, but I had to do some skimming there about the M16 family (though it was helpful information for those not aware of it).

    How about zombies breaking through part of the barricade–now that would be some great action and hasty response by folks within. A decision would have to be made whether to release the ziptied folks, or retreat, leaving them for the zombies. It’s time for the zombies to get the upper hand.

    • Craig W permalink

      That would be a great story line – some zombies push through and the defenders have to leave in haste. I think setting fire to the Chinese restaurant (cooking oil) on their way out to distract/roast the zombies would be the way to go.

      I’m ready for them to leave. This seems as if it’s lingering a bit too long – like Ruth stuck in SeaTac.

      • I hear you Craig I’ll get the gang on the road again in a bit. I like your idea of setting the fire to distract the zombies – not bad.

      • Jaeger permalink

        “The smell of deep fried zombies permeated the area and made my stomach churn. I think it will be many years before I eat another egg roll without gagging.”

      • That is a good idea Jaeger. That smell would certainly turn one off on egg rolls.

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